AIM takes on Ushers in £0.5m rescue deal

Linda Tsang reports

TOP legal software supplier AIM has acquired the business of financially troubled Scottish systems company HG Usher in a £0.5 million deal. Both companies had been working together in the LawDesk Consortium which pooled their research spending.

A leading Scottish supplier, Ushers also has a significant market share south of the border, where AIM Professional is dominant.

But the intention is to run the Usher business separately through a new company Usher Systems. The former staff in both Edinburgh and London offices have transferred and are already supporting Ushers' products.

AIM Professional managing director John Wilde says: "Ushers had invested heavily in the next generation of systems and had produced some highly advanced products. However, the company did not have the financial resources to support that investment."

When forming the R&D consortium earlier this year, the companies had not discussed the question of joining forces, says Wilde. He still wants to continue to work with other suppliers in the LawDesk initiative.

"Our intention is to turn Ushers into a profitable business, using the same techniques that had proved successful at AIM. We will keep a close control on all items of expenditure," he says. Ushers' Unity and Litigate products are poised to become leaders in their field, he adds.

Former Ushers head Harry Usher is a director of the new company. He says it is not possible for small operations to succeed without resources as products have become so complex.

"I am happy to be playing a role in the new company," he says.

Former Ushers business development manager Charles Duthie has left the company.